Mary E. (Wilkens) Jensen, 70, died Jan. 8, 2019, in Richland, Wash., of complications of dementia. A memorial service was held at Christ Lutheran Church, Walla Walla, Wash., at a future date. Pursuant to her wishes, her body was cremated.
She was born in Decorah and raised on a dairy farm. She attended one-room schools in Pleasant Township and later Decorah public schools, graduating from Thomas Roberts High School in 1966. She was Miss Mabel Steam Engine Days in 1965. She worked at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in the summer for several years. She graduated from Luther College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1970.
She married Jon Jensen ‘70 in Decorah in 1970. She taught Head Start and first grade in Bismarck, N.D., for eight years. In 1980 she graduated from the University of Minnesota—Moorhead with a master’s degree in special education. She was a resource room teacher in Idaho Falls, Idaho, for 17 years. The couple later lived in Oak Harbor, Wash., before moving to College Place, Wash. She was active in each Lutheran congregation they belonged to and in Friends of the Library organizations. She loved teaching, travel and art.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Bill and Esther Wilkens; a brother, Wilbur Wilkens; a sister, Marlys (Wilkens) Lien ‘57; a niece; and a nephew.
She is survived by her husband, in College Place; a brother, William Wilkens, of Franklin, Tenn.; and many in-laws, nieces and nephews.
Friends and family may share memories and sign her online guestbook found at mountainview-colonialdewitt.com.